Put down those energy boosters and pick up that teacup as tea is what you need to drink for a healthy you. The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be a hitch when it comes to drinking tea. Though the type and the exact acceptable quantity one can consume is a subject of controversy, where everyone seems to have a different perspective, nutritionists largely agree with one thing: any tea is a good tea.
Researchers are now re-discovering the many health benefits of different types of teas. Though tea is a name given to a lot of brews, we are only looking at what is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. This includes your green tea, black tea, white tea and oolong tea. There is no denying that tea is great for your health and what more, it has been proved! Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols and phytochemicals.
Here is how your cup of tea rocks your health:
• It’s a hydrating drink: Beverages were once believed to make one feel dehydrated, however, that myth has been disproved. Even if you have a very strong cup of tea, you’ll still end up getting more fluids into your system. Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water.
• Reduces the risk of heart diseases: Green tea encompasses large amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants that help in breaking down cholesterol and improving blood vessel function, thus protecting the heart against diseases. The polyphenols found in tea leaves have been shown to help prevent cell damage. According to a study that included 40,530 Japanese adult participants who drank more than five cups of green tea a day, it was found that they had a 26% lower risk of death from heart attack or stroke and a 16% lower risk of death from all causes than people who drank less than one cup of green tea a day. Studies showed that people who drank the most green tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least green tea.
• Lowers risk of Parkinson’s: It is a well-known fact that tea is composed of polyphenols, methylxanthine, caffeine, amino acids and other phytochemicals. Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women. According to Parkinson’s foundation, flavonoids, caffeine and theanine have been tested in animal models of Parkinson’s disease and this has shown protection against cell loss in similar areas of the brain that are affected in a human Parkinson’s patient. A meta-analysis of all studies on tea and Parkinson’s risk revealed that there was a protective effect of tea drinking on Parkinson’s disease risk. Interestingly, whether you drink one or more cups a day did not impact the risk. Here it is black tea that has more benefits.
• It’s a great beauty agent: Tea is not only good for your health but can also enhance your beauty. Tea might provide protection from UV rays. Green tea has the property to act as a backup sunscreen. Green tea and even white tea comprises a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that fights DNA damage from UV rays to prevent skin cancer. Green tea is known to fight skin cancer by promoting DNA repair. What this also means is that green tea is also a strong anti-ageing element that fights signs of ageing. Tea also has anti-inflammatory properties due to its high content of polyphenols called catechins. These catechins reduce irritation, redness and swelling.
• It’s a fitness booster: Tea boosts exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins or antioxidants in green tea extracts increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance. Researchers also suggest that drinking oolong tea may promote weight loss as well as help boost one’s immune system.The metabolism-revving caffeine plus the potent antioxidant EGCG in green tea activates the sympathetic nervous system to encourage fat burning. It was found that people would burn more fat during workouts when they had tea beforehand. Therefore, tea may decrease fat absorption and contribute to weight loss.
Tea has many other health benefits. It is said to help fight cancer, prevent tooth decay, and more. So what are you waiting for? Go, get your cup of heath!
(The author is head, R&D department, KDHP Co. Pvt. Ltd., Ripple Tea, Munnar)